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Full text of "Answers - Vol. 2 No. 2 (1986)(Tandy Corporation)(US)"

inter Issue 



Productivity: 

A byte in the 
right direction 
at Mrs. Fields® 

-Page 12 



The Tandy Connection 

There's been a lot of talk in 
the trade press about network- 
ing, probably one of the most 
complex issues of the high tech- 
nology "Age of Information". 

Today, more and more end us- 
ers in the small, medium and 
Fortune 500 businesses are see- 
ing the need for efficient, eco- 
nomical methods to tie together 
the computerized aspects of 
their operations. They are de- 
manding complete solutions to 
their networking needs. It no 
longer suffices to have a vendor 
"just hook-up the machines". 

Radio Shack has long been a 
pioneer in networking, beginning 
with the Network 3 that has be- 
come popular in schools. We 
have also developed viable 
networking capabilities for the 
business community, starting 
with ARCNET and now ViaNet. 

But we go a few steps further. 
We work with our customers to 
determine their unique needs for 
establishing and connecting 
workgroups within their opera- 
tions. We're on hand for not only 
the initial installation, but for 
follow-up needs as well. And we 
make sure the users know the 
systems through our training 
programs. 

We are a total solution com- 
pany committed to helping our 
customers select the right soft- 
ware, the right hardware and the 
right training for their work- 
groups to operate efficiently and 
productively. Our commitment is 
backed by one of the most dedi- 
cated service and support opera- 
tions in the industry, and we are 
constantly researching develop- 
ments in the industry to insure 
that Radio Shack customers have 
the best options available. 

We are the company that is "in 
business . . for business," and we 
mean business. 

— John V. Roach 

Chairman, CEO and President 

of Tandy Corporation 



LETTERS 



TO THE EDITOR 

Editor: 

A computing tip to share, which seems to take longer to explain than to 
do: 

Because of its simplicity, I handle a lot of my correspondence (like this let- 
ter) with the TEXT function of Tandy Deskmate (on a Tandy 1200 HD). 

Recently, after composing a lengthy questionnaire/letter that I would 
need for a meeting that night, I realized I would not have the use of a copy- 
machine, yet Deskmate TEXT does not have a function to make multiple 
copies. 

To solve the problem, I entered enough <CR) carriage returns to reach 
the 66th line of page 1. I then FlO-saved the document (as QUEST1.DOC), 
exiting to the Main Menu. 

Next, I opened a new document as QUEST2.DOC, then F5-merged 
QUEST1.DOC to it. 

I FB-saved QUEST2, then F5-merged it to itself and F6-saved again, 
creating two copies in one document. I repeated the process, which dou- 
bled the number of copies each time, until I got an out of memory message 
at the bottom of the screen. 

I hit ENTER to clear the out of memory message, then F5-merged single 
copies of the original QUEST1 until I got the memory message again. 

Pressing the END key took me to the bottom of the multipled-document, 
and the page number told me how many copies I had of the original docu- 
ment in the QUEST2 file. 

Using PrtSc, I printed out the long file until I had enough copies for the 
meeting. 

Regards, Richard Ellers 
Warren, Ohio 

Ed Note: While Mr. Ellers' routine performs as noted, PrtSe generates a 
screen dump. Control P may be used as a print alternative to avoid printing 
screen instructions on the documents. Radio Shack assumes no responsibil- 
ity for the above routine. 

Address your correspondence to. ANSWERS Magazine, 300 One Tandy Center, Fort Worth, TX 76102 
Letters sent become property of the magazine and cannot he returned. We cannot respond to even letter. 



NQTES 

FROM THE EDITOR 



As noted on the back cover, TCBUG is now Tangent. While the name may 
have changed, the group continues to gain momentum as an influential or- 
ganization. One of the group's outstanding activities is the annual meeting 
held each spring in Fort Worth, Texas. This year's conference, the organiza- 
tion's fifth annual event, is scheduled for April 26-29 at the Worthington Ho- 
tel in Fort Worth. 

As in past conferences, upper management from Tandy Corporation and 
its Radio Shack Division will meet with the group to discuss various topics. 
Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft Corporation, is among the renowned figures in 
the industry who will be featured as keynote speakers. 

Topics to be presented this year include networking, 286 versus 386 
technology, desktop publishing, the state of the industry and much more. 
Tangent members will conduct special interest sessions including a 
CompuServe demonstration and Xenix and MS-DOS applications. New 
at this year's conference will be exhibits by various hardware and software 
vendors. 

The conference is open to non-members as well as members. For more 
information on the conference and registration, write Tangent at P.O. Box 
17580, Fort Worth, TX 76102. 



Winter 1987 




WER 




Vol 2, No. 2 





C USTOMER PROFILE S 



Tracking the elements: Microcomputers prove their worth for 

three agencies in their studies of man's environment 4 

Managing with success: A management firm discovers the 

merits of a Radio Shack phone system 7 

Solving the proposal puzzle: A Nehraska insurance 

company streamlines the proposal process 8 

Out front by a smile: The Tandy 1000 is instrumental in report- 
ing functions for an international cookie concern 12 

Supplying the demands of dentistry: Tandy computers help a 

dental supply company meet the demands of its customers 16 

System solutions at your service: The Tandy 3000 plays an impor- 
tant part in a Virginia firm's operations 20 

Shifting into high tech: Drivers education has a new look with 

Tandy 2000-based simulator systems from a Tulsa firm 22 

S PECIAL REVIEW 



A pleasant surprise: An independent consultant reviews XENIX/ 
V286 on the Tandv 3000 HD 



10 



FOCUS ON EDUCATION 



Education with a personal touch: From elementary to high school, 
computer awareness is paramount in a very progressive school 
system 



18 



T ECHNIQUE S 



A Texas hank cashes in on the Tandy 1000 EX and a management 
company gets the idea with the Tandy 6000 



15 



Editorial Director 

David M. Beckerman 
Managing Editor 

Tana C. Crubb 
Contributing \Witen 

Marcia Blumenthal. Jon Pepper, 

Robert Knight, Michele Ryan. Jay Hogrr. 

Scott Wbfford. Richard Bilancia 
Art Director 

Barry King 
Contributing Artists 

Doug Tipping, Deborah Harris, Donna Latta 



Director of Photography 

John Timblin 
Contributing Photographers 

Ray Proska, Rick Dykes. Ceno Loro. 

Lyn Topinka. U.S. Geological Survey 
Typography 

Donna Levy 
Production 

Fred Brussow. Janice Peace 



Entire contents " Copyright I9H7, Tandy Corporation. All right* reserved Reproduction in 
whole or part without permission is prohibited. Answers Magazine is published quarterly by 
Tandy Corporation, Fort Worth. Tesas 70102. The company cannot be liable for pictorial or 
typographical errors. Not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs 
Tandy. DeskMate. Profile. SCRIPSIT. Radio Shark and TRS-HO/registered TM Tandy Corp 
AnswervTM Tandy Corp. IBM. PC/AT/registered TM International Business Machines Corp 
MS-DOS, MS-Wbrd. Visual Shell. Multiplan and Xenis/registered TM Microsoft, be. I'mfy/TM 
Unify Corp. LesSVTM SofTest Inc. Word StarTM MicroPro. Cross TalkTM Micrnstuf Inc 
UnisTTM AT&T Lotus 1-2-3/TM Lotus Deselopmrnt Corp. Lyris. SCO Professional and 
Fo<Base/TM Santa Crul Operations I'KVTM Software Publishing. VrrsaCAD/TM T&VS 
Systems. Bell/TM Bell Laboratories. Mrs. Fields/TM Mrs. Fields. AuloCAD/TM Autodesk 
dBASE lll/TM AshtonTate. Mullimalr'TM Multimate International Corp GEM Draw TM 
Digital Research Corp. WbrkNet/TM Altos Computers Time LmefTM Breakthrough Software 
MCI Mail/TM MCI Communications Corp. RralWorld/TM RealWorld Corp 





Tom Murray (left) and geologist Bobbie 
Myers examine data received from instru- 
ments emplaced at Mount St. Helens. 



The adaptability of micro- 
computers contributes to man's 
study of the environment. 

Throughout history; man's fate has 
frequently (alien prey to the ravages of 
nature. Earthquakes, floods, volcanic 
eruptions and other natural phenom- 
ena have left devastation in their wake. 
Although unwittingly, mankind has 
also contributed to the degradation of 
its environment with by-products of 
the Industrial Revolution which pol- 
lute the air, water and land. 

Man is, however, a thinking animal 
and the Industrial Revolution also pro- 
vided him with the tools to study the 
natural and man-made factors that in- 
fluence his existence. Over the dec- 
ades, agencies have been created to 
aid man in his efforts to gain a better 
understanding of his environment. 



One such agency is the David A. 
Johnston Cascades Volcano Observa- 
tory (CVO) of the United States Geo- 
logical Survey (USGS) of the Depart- 
ment of the Interior. Located in Van- 
couver, Washington, the CVO 
monitors the activity of Mount St. He- 
lens, the volcano that attracted world- 
wide attention when it erupted on May 
18, 1980 with catastrophic conse- 
quences, The observatory is in fact 
named in memory of a volcanologist 
who was killed while observing activ- 
ity at a monitoring site on May 18. 

Since 1980, Mount St. Helens has 
continued to erupt sporadically as the 
lava dome inside the crater builds and 
shifts to accommodate the movement 
of the magma* to the surface. The 
monitoring of these and other volcanic 
activities has allowed the USGS to 

'Magma is molten rock beneath the surface. 
When it hits the surface, it becomes lava. 



forecast possible eruptions at Mount 
St. Helens within days and sometimes 
weeks, although the magnitude of the 
eruptions may remain unpredictable. 

According to Tom Murray, USGS op- 
erational geophysicist, their goal is to 
further understand volcanic processes 
toward predicting more accurately 
when and how volcanoes will erupt. 
"If Mount Rainier started shaking, 
hopefully, from what we've learned at 
Mount St. Helens, we'd be able to go 
up there, put in some instruments, 
take measurements and, from the data 
we gathered here, we'd be able to ac- 
curately predict what was going on 
there." 



"Wfe're researching 
new techniques 

to predict 
volcanic activity." 



Seismic Signals 

The USGS does have data, and lots 
of it. The Vancouver operations area is 
an assortment of seismographic and 
other data recording equipment that 
receives radio signals from instru- 
ments situated in proximity to the lava 
dome in the crater at Mount St. Helens 
some fifty miles away. Murray ex- 
plained there are actually two systems 
of telemetering these measurements. 
Seismometers measure ground shak- 
ing due to harmonic tremor and earth- 
quakes generated by the upward 
migration of magma to the surface. 
Their data are radioed back via the 
analog telemetry system. Additionally, 
the low frequency digital telemetry 
system is used to measure tilt, temper- 
ature, strain and gas production of the 
volcano at predetermined intervals. 
Field devices read the data from the 
various instruments, digitize the data 
and transmit the information by radio 
to a receiver in the Vancouver office 
where the output of the radio receiver 
goes into a Radio Shack Model 100. 
Said Murray, "We transmit everything 
in standard Bell 103 modem tones and 
RS-232, so we just feed the output of 
the radio directly into the Model 100. 
It decodes the data, stores it, and every 
ten minutes dumps it into a central 
computer. We can then quickly make 
plots and see how, or if, the various 
measurements are changing." 



Murray, who wrote the decoding 
program in BASIC "with a couple of 
peeks and pokes," has found other uses 
for the Model 100. The analog seismic 
signals are digitized by a data acquisi- 
tion device that plugs into the Model 
100's system bus. The Model 100 com- 
putes a data point proportional to seis- 
mic activity each minute, which gives 
them a real time digital report while 
the analog data is recorded on seismo- 
graph drums. 

While monitoring Mount St. Helens 
is the primary task of the USGS in 
Vancouver, they also work with their 
sister observatory in Hawaii and with 
other countries in the "Ring of Fire," a 
periphery area of the Pacific Ocean 
prone to earthquake and volcanic ac- 
tivity. Murray, who has assisted in vol- 
canic monitoring in several countries, 
noted that it was, in part, the need for 
field testing that prompted him to con- 
sider the Model 100. "We needed a 
battery operated computer so we 
could take it out in the field and hook it 
up to a radio out there. Then we can 
trouble shoot the site to see if the radio 
transmissions are okay. 

"We're researching new techniques 
and developing new instrumentation 
to predict volcanic activity and we 
hope to export the technology so that 
other countries that don't have the re- 
sources we do can start monitoring 
their volcanoes more effectively. We're 
not unique, but we like to think we're 
in the forefront," concluded Murray. 

Data from the desert wind 

The Model 100 has proved to be an 
asset in the field for another agency 
headquartered in Reno, Nevada. The 
Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a 
research and development organiza- 
tion consisting of five separate entities 
that conduct environmental studies. 
One of these entities, the Energy and 
Environmental Engineering Center 
(EEEC), is tasked with monitoring air 
quality. A research arm of the Univer- 
sity of Nevada, DRI establishes and 
maintains monitoring sites for federal 
and state concerns as well as for seg- 
ments of private industry. 

While most of the monitoring sta- 
tions are located in the desert areas of 
the Southwest at such prosaically 
named sites as Bullhead City, Mead- 
view, Turquoise and Spirit Mountain, 
the DRI also establishes stations 
throughout the United States. 



Rick Brown, associate research en- 
gineer for DRI's EEEC, related a pro- 
ject DRI is undertaking for the 
National Parks Service. "We're doing 
30 sites for them located in over 15 
states from Maine to Arizona." Accord- 
ing to Brown, the project is designed 
to help preserve the environment of 
the parks. "Environmental deteriora- 
tion is a very subtle thing," said Brown. 
"The degradation happens slowly; like 
gradual loss of vision." 

All of the projects undertaken by the 
EEEC deal with monitoring sub- 
stances that affect air quality. A remote 
site, often referred to as "the sniffer" 
by area residents, is equipped with 




£ 




Information gathering sites such as this 
one near Meadview, Nevada, provide data 
for air quality study. 

specialized instrumentation to gather 
air samples and record the content, 
take ozone and temperature readings, 
check wind speed and direction, and 
measure visibility and other elements 
which are useful in air quality re- 
search. Samples are analyzed by gas 
chromatography to identify particu- 
lants and gaseous pollutants including 
man-made varieties. Noted Brown, 
"Since many elements in the air have 
no natural source, the recording of 
their presence in a migrating air mass 
is good evidence of an urban history." 

According to Brown, information is 
gathered through dataloggers which 
generate graphs of the air activity. 
"The Model 100 is essentially an ac- 
cessory at the sites. In the National 
Parks project, it enables the field site 
technician to interact with the data 
collection system in the same manner 
that the person in the Denver office 
would." All sites are also equipped 
with a DMP-105 printer to facilitate 
information checking. Brown ex- 
plained, "When you go in and query 
the datalogger, say for a daily summary 
of the hourly averages for the previous 



» t!***»:. 



five days for every hour, you get a five 
page print out. This is far too much to 
assimilate on a datalogger front panel. 
With the Model 100 and the 105 
printer, you get a record at the site you 
can reference." 

Gary Jones, technician for sites 
around Las Vegas, Nevada, found the 
Model 100 to be useful for verifying 
data recorded on cassette tapes which 




Rick Brown (If ft) and site technician Ken 
Baker check information at the Meadview 
site. 

are sent to the home office. "It comes 
in handy and can be a real time-saver," 
Jones commented. 

"I'm an engineer, not a scientist," 
said Brown wrinkling his brow. "The 
information gathered at the sites is 
studied by scientists who write papers 
that help to increase our knowledge on 
an on-going basis. If it helps preserve 
our environment, I'm all for it." 

Water: The essential element 

In Sonoma County, California, yet 
another agency is concerned with the 
preservation and control of another 
valuable resource: water. 

"Our agency was created around 
1949 to deal with flood problems and 
water supply problems in Sonoma 
County," stated Bill Stillman, chief en- 
gineer for the Sonoma County Water 
Agency in Santa Rosa, California. 
"Since then, the area has seen tremen- 
dous growth. What we do is try to keep 
up with the demand for water and 
solve long term problems." 

No small task for an agency that pro- 
duced a volume of water totalling 
43,223 acre-feet last year, serving be- 
tween 250,000-300,000 people with 
water including residential, industrial 
and commercial usage. Essentially, the 
agency is a special purpose govern- 
ment agency that wholesales water to 
Sonoma and Marin counties, under- 
takes flood control projects, generates 
electricity and is even responsible for 



certain recreational facilities as part of 
the flood control program. 

While the primary pumping source 
of water for the agency is the Russian 
River, the agency has water storage 
capacity in two Corps of Engineers 
dams in the river watershed and the 
local ground water resources are rela- 
tively untapped. Additionally, the 
agency has several construction pro- 
jects in progress at any given time to 
meet the increasing demand for water. 

Keeping track of the water flow, 
pumping stations, storage facilities 
and construction projects in itself 
presents an awesome task. Add to that 
the maintenance of everyday opera- 
tions and the agency's workload takes 
on considerable proportions. "We def- 
initely keep busy," grinned Sam Smith, 
senior engineering programmer ana- 
lyst who has been with the agency for 
eleven years. 

Smith recalled that many of the 
agency's operations that are now com- 
puterized were once manual tasks. 
"We started out with a (TRS-80) 
Model II for a technical writer," he 
noted. They then added Model 16s for 
clerical support and began program- 
ming for other functions. "We looked 
around and asked 'where are we head- 
ing?' We just couldn't keep adding 
stuff and have an integrated system," 
Smith said. "The (upgraded) clerical 
6000 was a success story. It basically 
revolutionized the whole office. And 
the tech writing was going well. Man- 
agement needed computer power and 
they liked the systems we had. We 
worked with the people at the local 
(Radio Shack) Computer Center. 
Robert Biasotti, the manager, and Bob 
Edelbrock helped us a great deal." 



"We're trying to 



» 



conserve water, 



Today, the Tandy 6000 has become 
an integral part of several of the opera- 
tions of the agency. Systems have been 
added for accounting functions and for 
tracking information on construction 
projects. Most systems have from six to 
eight users and the clerical and mana- 
gerial systems are linked through the 
Xenix MICNET network. 

In the operations center, next door 
to the agency's new administrative 



building, a Tandy 6000 acts as an ad- 
junct to the specialized computer sys- 
tem that controls the various remote 
pump stations and release points via 
radio signals. According to Smith, the 
Tandy 6000 receives information re- 
garding water body flows in a 24 hour 
period. Based on that information, the 
agency releases water as necessary. "A 
certain minimum flow is required by 
law," noted Smith. "We use the 6000 
to monitor an hourly flow data base, 
over a 24 hour period of time, to deter- 
mine if we need to increase or de- 
crease water releases from the two 
dams. We're trying to conserve water. 
We don't want to release needed water 
out into the ocean." 

Learning from history 

A large part of the agency's opera- 
tions are dependent on historical flow 
information. "For example," explained 
Smith, "if we take the rainfall over the 
last 66 years and the resulting flows, 
we can randomly pull that information 
using different parameters to deter- 
mine what actions we should take in 
given situations." To help establish 
such a vast informational base, Smith 
is currently customizing Unify soft- 
ware to accommodate the historical 




Sam Smith beside a model of one of the 
agency's pumping operations on the Rus- 
sian Riwr. 

information on all the flows of all the 
creeks and rivers in Sonoma and sur- 
rounding counties. Once completed, 
this system will feed into the agency's 
digital reservoir model which will also 
be moved to a Tandy 6000. 

As the agency continues to grow to 
meet the water demands of the area. 
Smith sees other areas where comput- 
ers would be an effective asset to the 
agency. "It's really been a success story 
I guess. It has improved our efficiency 
and we'll be doing more with our mod- 
els and simulations. I guess it's all wa- 
ter over the dam." Pardon the pun. 



Managing 

with 

success 



For two Denver entrepreneurs, 
an electronic phone system is an 
indispensable business tool. 

Bill and Diane Biesendorfer have 
found the elusive combination of hap- 
piness and success. Just four years ago, 
they took the biggest gamble of their 
lives; they founded Management Spe- 
cialists, a professional homeowner's 
association management company in 
Westminster, Colorado. 

Bill Biesendorfer is no stranger to 
the world of property and association 
management. He served in the Navy 
Civil Engineer Corps and, after leav- 
ing the service, he went to work for the 




System 601 includes a variety of powerful 
business-oriented features. 

Veteran's Administration. Diane had 
been a legal secretary and the secre- 
tary to the city manager of Arvada, 
Colorado. In addition, Bill was the 
president of the homeowner's associa- 
tion of the development where the 
Biesendorfers lived. When the associa- 
tion was formed, homeowners were 
enthusiastic about being a part of 
"their" association. 

'You do it" 

According to Biesendorfer, it didn't 
take long before the volunteers began 
to lose their enthusiasm. "I said to one 
volunteer that we weren't doing our 
job because we weren't following up 
on delinquencies in dues," he recalled. 
"He said, "If you think that you can do 
a better job, do it yourself, I quit'. 
That's when the idea clicked in mv 




Bill Biesendorfer, president of Management Specialists, discusses the important role that an 
electronic phone system plays in a modern business. 



mind." Biesendorfer took on manage- 
ment of the association, formed Man- 
agement Specialists and operated it 
with Diane from a room in their home. 

Growth was rapid for Management 
Specialists. Within six months, the 
business had grown to the point where 
the Biesendorfers could no longer run 
it from their home. They moved to an 
office and hired a staff. 

Initial expansion 

When Management Specialists 
leased their first office, the business 
needed all kinds of new equipment, 
including a phone system which they 
leased from Badio Shack. The Biesen- 
dorfers liked the idea of leasing a 
phone system. "For a new business, 
it's very important to have the ability to 
lease instead of putting out a lot of cash 
to buy it," Biesendorfer said. 

Management Specialists' first phone 
system was a Badio Shack System 403 
capable of handling ten extensions and 
expandable to four lines. "We knew we 
needed a phone system, but we didn't 
know much about them. Badio Shack 
had an ad in the paper so we decided 
to see what they had to offer. It was a 
clear choice. We thought that Badio 
Shack would be the best, and we 
haven't been disappointed." 

Before they knew it, the business 
had outgrown both its office space and 
its phone system. "When we leased 
our 403, we leased it for three years 
but we only used it for a little over a 
year," Biesendorfer said. "When it 
came time to upgrade, our first fear 
was that we were going to have to pay- 
off that whole lease. We were pleas- 



antly surprised when the people at the 
phone center said, 'No problem, we'll 
just take it back, cancel the old lease 
and start you with the new one.'" 

More phones, more future 

When Management Specialists 
moved to new office space they up- 
graded to the System 601, expanding 
their telephone capacities to sixteen 
extensions and six incoming lines. 
"When we got the System 601, we 
didn't shop at all. We just called Badio 
Shack," remarked Biesendorfer. 

Biesendorfer finds that the features 
offered by the System 601 help keep 
operations running smoothly. Since 
clients and suppliers are spread out 
over the entire Denver area, it's often 
difficult to handle business in person. 
Each employee has frequently called 
phone numbers and long distance ser- 
vice access numbers programmed di- 
rectly at the extension for speed 
dialing, saving time and eliminating 
keystrokes. Another feature that 
Biesendorfer enjoys is the conferenc- 
ing capability. One of the functions of a 
homeowner's association manager is 
to act as the liaison between an associ- 
ation and their attorney. Bather than 
be the third party, Biesendorfer sets up 
a conference call between all parties 
involved. In doing so, business can be 
conducted with a single phone call in- 
stead of a series of telephone calls back 
and forth among the parties. 

The Biesendorfers have the best of 
both worlds. Not only do they have a 
successful business; they also like what 
they're doing. That combination 
makes Bill and Diane Biesendorfer 
very happy people. 



Solving the 

proposal 
puzzle 



A computer communications 
system brings insurance agents 
together while reducing their 
dependence on the home office. 




Dan Cerny helped to move the power of 
computing into the hands of agents. 








The proposal generation software ereated by Security Mutual Life speeds the complex 
process of matching insurance with a client's needs. 

sex, I could check the rate book and 
tell you how much it would cost per 
thousand," explained Cerny. "Insur- 
ance isn't that way anymore; you need 
the power of a computer to calculate 
all the different "what if situations." 

To meet these new needs. Security 
Mutual Life created proposal nenera- 
tion software for its mainframe that 
would make calculations and help to 
determine the !>est insurance product 
lor both the client and the company. 
The mainframe did simplify opera- 
tions at the home office, but insurance 
policies are typically sold by agents 
physically removed from the home of- 
fice and its mainframe computer. 

To allow the agents access to the 
power of the company's mainframe, 
Security Mutual Life initiated a pro- 
gram in 1980 to move computing 
power out of the home office to the 
agents in the field. "We had a few goals 
in mind," explained Cerny. "Number 
one, we wanted to select one com- 
puter style or organization that could 
provide us service in sales, technical 
support and maintenance support 
wherever we had an office. Secondly, 
the svstem had to accommodate our 



"You can't sell insurance today with- 
out the power of computers." That's 
the way Dan Cerny, second vice presi- 
dent, computer operations for Secu- 
rity Mutual Life in Lincoln. Nebraska, 
describes the role of computers in the 
insurance industry. Cerny should 
know; he was in the computer end of 
the insurance industry before the ad- 
vent of the microcomputer. "Insur- 
ance companies traditionally have 
been the instigators ol computeriza- 
tion Koin^ back to the first mainframes 
in the late fifties and early sixties," 
Cerny said. "That's really what mot 
computers going in business." 

The use of mainframes did simplify 
the day-to-day business of an insur- 
ance home office, but, according to 
Cerny, those were more simple times; 
at least in the insurance industry. "Un- 
til about three or four years ago, if you 
wanted to buy $100,000 worth of in- 
surance and I knew your a^e and your 




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insurance proposal programs as well as 
generic types of programs such as 
word processing, file processing and 

spreadsheets. Finally, we wanted the 
computers to communicate with the 
mainframe here in Lincoln, and also to 
communicate with various insurance 
related time-share services. 

Meeting specified goals 

"We started with those goals in 
mind to find a company that could 
meet our needs. Back in 1981, there 
weren't a lot ol players in the micro- 
computer game. Radio Shack kept 
popping up as a possibility. We looked 
at some of the other companies, and 
they had some strong points, hut the 
deciding factor was that they didn't 
have the nationwide sales and support 
staff that Radio Shack had. We wanted 
our agents to buy locally and establish 
a rapport with the local Computer 
Outer. This was a new area for every- 
body. There was a lot to learn and we 
needed a lot ol help." 

In Max of 1981, Security Mutual se- 
lected tiie TRS-80 Model II as the 
microcomputer (or its agents. "We be- 
gan equipping each of our offices — 
there were thirty-five to forty 
then — with a Model II, expansion 
drives and a Daisy Wheel II printer." 
Since purchasing the first Model lis. 
the company has used a variety of 
Tandy computers in its agencies. Ac- 
cording to Cerny, the introduction of 
the Tandy MS-DOS computers was a 
welcome addition to his company's 
computerization program. "Weproba- 
bly have more Tandy 1200s today than 
we have anything else, both floppy and 
hard drive versions," noted Cerny. 
"Now we're beginning to put Tandy 
3000s in our larger agencies that need 
the power of AT-type processing plus 
the expansion capability for multi- 
tasking and networking in the future. 

"When we first began, we needed 
good communications capability be- 
cause we hail all these insurance pro- 
posal systems already running on our 
mainframe," explained Cerny. "We 
didn't want to immediately have to re- 
write them in BASIC or some other 
language to run on a microcomputer." 
Consequendy, the company set up a 
communications system that allowed 
the microcomputers in the field to ac- 
cess the proposal generation software 



, 



on the mainframe. "When we bought 
the Model II, Radio Shack offered a 
package called BIS-3780 which would 
modify the communications port so 
that we could emulate an IBM 3780," 
Cerny said. The company's data pro- 
cessing department developed pro- 
grams for the Model II that captured 
client data such as name, age, sex and 
desired coverage. The information was 
then transmitted to the mainframe via 
the communication system, the pro- 
posal would be generated and the re- 
port sent back to the agent. 

Talking to a micro 

The system worked well, but as the 
company expanded, so did the ex- 
pense of the company's communica- 
tions link. By 1985, the phone bill for 
the communications link was totalling 
about $120,000 annually, supporting 
about five hundred agents. "After 
three years, we began writing the 
mainframe programs in BASIC for the 
micros as a way to reduce the expense 
of the communications link," said 
Cerny. "Today, most of our proposal 
work is done on a stand-alone basis on 
the micros. The communications sys- 
tem is used for electronic mail which 
we call our SMLCRAM, and to access 
any information on an active policy, 
like determining the current cash 
value of a policy." By transferring pro- 
posal generation to microcomputers in 
the field, the company's phone bill is 
expected to be reduced to about 
$30,000 for 1986. 

The SMLCRAM electronic mail ex- 
pedites communication between the 
home office and the agents. New prod- 
uct information, company memos and 
personal messages can be transmitted 
between Lincoln and any single 
agency, or, a single message can be sent 
to all agencies. Additionally, the SML- 
CRAM can be used between agencies 
in the field. 

Custom-tailored policies 

Once an agency has been outfitted 
with the proposal generation software, 
it can calculate proposals quickly and 
efficiently for clients. When an agent 
makes a proposal, a program is utilized 
to take down all of the financial and 
personal information about the client. 
A printout is generated indicating if 
the present insurance coverage is ade- 
quate. If the coverage does not meet 
the client's requirements, the agent 
can calculate the amount of additional 
coverage necessary. 



Once the desired coverage is estab- 
lished, the proposal generation soft- 
ware is utilized to determine the best 
insurance product to facilitate the cov- 
erage. If the proposed cost is more 
than the client wants to spend, 
changes can be made in various factors 
of the input without having to input all 
the data again. These changes can be 
made until a balance between cost and 
coverage is achieved. 

"Without the power of the com- 
puter, you have to sort a proposal back 
and forth for several weeks," said 
Cerny. "Our goal is to get that accom- 
plished in one sitting." 

Help for the harried 

The company supplies its agents 
with the proposal generation software 
and helps them purchase their com- 
puter systems by giving them attrac- 
tive interest rates and payment 
schedules. "The agents are not re- 
quired to use Tandy computers, but if 
anyone calls us and asks us, we recom- 
mend a Tandy computer," Cerny said. 
"A lot of our people have had such 
good experience with Tandy, they 
don't want to deal with anybody else. 
They know the reliability of the equip- 
ment and the quality of the service. 
They also know that Radio Shack is 
going to be there next year, and the 
year after, right down the street, just 
like they always have been." 

Of course, computerizing an insur- 
ance agency can be a harrowing expe- 
rience for an agent that is uninitiated 
to computers. To help agents make the 
transition smoothly. Security Mutual 
Life established a help line for its 
agents. "A lot of times, the help desk 
doesn't solve problems; it acts as a cen- 
tral clearing house for problems," ex- 
plained Cerny. "We try and answer as 
many questions as we can right here. If 
it's a sophisticated marketing concept, 
obviously we can't handle that one, so 
we route it to the people that can an- 
swer the question. Seldom do we have 
to call them back; our goal is to be 
able to help them while they are on 
the line." 

Cerny is convinced that microcom- 
puters have become an indispensable 
part of the company's agent's opera- 
tions. "It's difficult to judge. About the 
only way to tell how much of a differ- 
ence the computers make would be to 
take their computer away," grinned 
Cerny. "And obviously, we wouldn't 
want to do that." 



'£*>* % 




by Richard A. Bilancia 

When asked to write a review of 
the new Xenix system for the Tandy 
3000 HD, I admit I was initially quite 
apprehensive — not because I dislike 
writing, but because I've had a Tandy 
6000 (upgraded from a Model 16A) 
since the early days. Since May 1982, 
to be exact, and I've run XENIX/68000 
on it since January 1983 and I didn't 
think that a 3000 could favorably com- 
pare with a 6000. Boy, was I wrong! I 
must say that I've been very pleasantly 
surprised with the speed, perfor- 
mance, features and functionality of 
the 3000 HD and Tandy's port of 
XENIX System V/286. 




First Impressions 

While the system I used for review 
purposes already had XENIX installed 
on the hard disk, I chose to reload the 
software from the distribution floppies 
to see hew complete the documenta- 
tion and installation programs are. 
They are very complete and thorough! 

The 3000 HD installation proce- 
dures allow the user to configure his 
primary hard disk into multiple parti- 
tions, to allow a portion of the primary 
hard disk to contain MS-DOS pro- 
grams and data, and to do other system 
administrator tasks like modify the 
amount of disk swap space. These 

10 



Xenix System V/286 and 
the Tandy 3000 HD: 

The pleasant surprise 



functions can all be accomplished with 
a minimum of technical input or 
knowledge. 

Printed documentation for XENIX 
is extensive. XENIX System V/286 for 
the Tandy 3000 HD comes with four 
PC-sized, 5 '/2-by 8 '/2-inch manuals: 
Installation, Operation, User's Guide; 
Reference Manual Volume 1; Visual 
Shell User's Guide; and DeskMate. 

Five additional manuals come with 
the purchase of the optional XENIX 
System V/286 development software: 
Reference Manual Volume 2; Pro- 
grammer's Guide; C Reference Man- 
ual; C Library and User's Guide; and 
the Macro Assembler User's Guide 
and Reference Manual. Most of the 
Reference Manual (both volumes 1 
and 2) pages can be optionally loaded 
onto the hard disk for quick user ter- 
minal access. 

After installing the system, I ran a 
few quick benchmarks. While 
no benchmark test can ever tell all 
things, the few simple benchmarks 
that I ran indicated that the 3000 HD 
ran on average approximately 30 per- 
cent faster than my Tandy 6000. Need- 
less to say, I was impressed! 

Features 

Most noticeable is the relatively 
small physical size of the Tandy 
3000 HD. The Tandy 3000 HD only 
occupies about 2.75 cubic feet, over 
half of which is the oversized 14-inch 
CM-1 color monitor that is on my sys- 
tem. Also quickly apparent is the com- 
parative quietness of the 3000 HD's 
one cooling fan. 

No keyboard is perfect, but the 
3000 HD keyboard has one of the nic- 
est feels available. Unlike many other 
products, the Tandy 3000 HD key- 
board does not require multiple key 
strokes for any of the standard UNIX 
shell characters. 



The 3000 HD comes without any 
operating system (XENIX and 
MS-DOS are extra cost options), but if 
you buy both MS-DOS and XENIX 
System V/286, they can co-reside on a 
single hard disk and either operating 
system can be selected at boot time. 




Living in a somewhat rural area, 
power fluctuations and short power 
outages are somewhat common. Ac- 
cordingly, I often found that my com- 
puter systems had reset because of 
these power outages. When such re- 
sets occur, some computers will only 
fully reboot with operator assistance at 
the console. The Tandy 3000 HD does 
not require such operator involve- 
ment. The 3000 comes with a battery 
operated user-resettable internal 
clock and a boot track controlled 
timeout to automatically reload the 
kernel and go into multiuser mode. Of 
course programs executing during a 
crash may still create a problem with 
lost data, and for that reason I still 
recommend a battery power back- 
up system like the Tandy BPS-400 
Standby Power System. 

Since each XENIX implementation 
will likely be unique, kernel modifica- 
tion for optimum performance be- 
comes a desirable option. Accordingly, 
Tandy has provided users a way to re- 
configure the XENIX operating sys- 



™mm»&^mmmvKmm. ■^■■^:mv>^**€:m>?^-^ 



mmmmmmm^mmmm 



tern kernel of the Tandy 3000 HD with 
a configuration kit. Reconfiguration of 
the kernel is not something to be tried 
by the casual XENIX user, but when 
properly done by a knowledgeable ad- 
ministrator, can save considerable 
computer resources and maximize the 
value of a system. 

Tandy 6000 owners will be jealous of 
the fact that the 3000 HD does not 
need to be shutdown to format floppy 
diskettes. Unlike the 6000, 3000 HD 
users can format floppy disks while 
other XENIX System V/286 programs 
are executing. 

One of the real advantages of the 
Tandy 3000 HD is the hardware ex- 
pansion options and upgrades avail- 
able from Radio Shack and other 
sources. Some of the options available 
directly from Radio Shack include: the 
Tandy TCS-100 Tape Cartridge Sys- 
tem that can hold 48 megabytes on a 
single backup cartridge; the external 
10 megabyte Disk Cartridge System; 
additional random access memory 
boards and chips (up to 12 megabytes 
of RAM); a high resolution color 
graphics kit; serial port expansion 
boards; internal and external floppy 
and hard disk expansions; and of 
course, a wide selection of monitors, 
terminals, printers, modems, and 
many other accessories and supplies. 
Additionally, an internal 20-megabyte 
Disk Cartridge System and the 20 + 20 
Disk Cartridge System will be sup- 
ported later on. 

Application software 

New computer hardware is gener- 
ally available with only a promise that 
application software will eventually be 
available — such is not the case with 
XENIX and the Tandy 3000 HD. The 
following Tandy 3000 HD application 
software packages are already avail- 
able directly from Radio Shack: 
RealWorld General Ledger, Payroll, 
Accounts Receivable, Accounts Pay- 
able, Order Entry and Sales Analysis; 
SCRIPSIT, Tandy's in-house devel- 
oped word processing program; and 
Profile, Tandy's version of the Small 
Computer Company's database man- 
agement system. Several other 
XENIX-based software packages are 
available through Radio Shack's Ex- 
press Order Software program. 

Additionally, I have experimented 
with several software packages devel- 
oped for the IBM PC/AT XENIX port 
and for XENIX System V/286 from the 



Santa Cruz Operation which seem to 
work flawlessly, true to the binary code 
compatibility promise of Microsoft, 
Inc. If the binary code compatibility 
between XENIX versions is 100 per- 
cent (as I suspect), then there is good 
reason to believe products like SCO- 
Professional (a Lotus 1-2-3 workalike), 
Lyrix word processing, and FoxBASE 
(a dBase workalike), all from Santa 
Cruz Operation, Inc., and hundreds of 
other software packages from other 
sources, should work on the Tandy 
3000 HD. 

Window-like interfaces 

Because no single interface can be 
all things to all users, and the fact that 
operating system user interfaces often 
determine the success or failure of 
computerized solutions for business 
problems, Radio Shack has provided 
their XENIX users with a choice of 
two superior user interfaces, Micro- 
soft's Visual Shell and Tandy's exclu- 
sive multiuser DeskMate. 

"...it is the user 
interface to the 
XENIX utilities 
that is unique." 

Microsoft's Visual Shell ("vsh") is an 
excellent user interface patterned af- 
ter the user interface of Microsoft's 
successful spreadsheet, Multiplan, and 
word processing package, MS-Word. 
When using "vsh", the contents of the 
current working directory are dis- 
played in the top window of the 
screen, and a set of commands are dis- 
played on the bottom few lines of the 
screen. Files in the current directory 
are selected using the arrow keys, 
while commands (including Copy, De- 
lete, Edit, Help, Mail, Name, Options, 
Print, Quit, Run, View, and Window) 
on the bottom of the screen are se- 
lected with the space bar, the back- 
space key, or the first letter of the 
command. Single keystroke com- 
mands allow the user to migrate up 
and down the directory structure. The 
system date and time are continuously 
displayed, and updated, in the lower 
right hand corner. 

After considerable success with 
their MS-DOS DeskMate software 
that comes standard with Tandy IBM- 
compatibles, Radio Shack decided to 
include a comparable product with 



their port of XENIX. I was pleasantly 
surprised to find this interface in- 
cluded with XENIX for their Tandy 
3000. 

While the DeskMate software in- 
cludes spreadsheet, calendar, data- 
base, calculator, phone directory, and 
word processing programs, it is the 
user interface to the XENIX utilities 
that is unique. The date and time are 
displayed in the top right hand corner 
of the screen. A calendar for the cur- 
rent month is displayed on the top left 
of the screen, with any entries that 
have been entered to the calendar sys- 
tem for the current date displayed 
along side. Below that, the name of the 
current directory is displayed. Further 
below are six user definable boxes that 
contain the names of files accessible by 
the Text, Worksheet, Filer, Calendar, 
and Mail programs respectively. The 
last of these six boxes is labeled 
"APPLICATION" and contains a list 
of user accessible (and user customiz- 
able) application programs. 

Application files are simply pointed 
to, and are then opened for modifica- 
tion with a single keystroke. Addition- 
ally included in this interface are 
options to call the following XENIX 
programs with "fill-in the blanks" op- 
tions: mail, find, mv, chmod, rm, 
mkdir, cp, lpr, df, who, ps, and floppy 
disk backup and restoration options, as 
well as sub-shells. Within very well- 
defined limits, the user can tailor the 
interface to access the programs, files, 
and directories that he or she uses. 

With tools like Microsoft's Visual 
Shell and Tandy's DeskMate, even 
novice users can learn to work quite 
effectively in the powerful XENIX Sys- 
tem V/286 multiuser, multi-tasking 
environment. 

Conclusion 

If you are planning to buy a XENIX 
machine soon, I'd say that you have an 
easy choice. One of the lowest initial 
cost alternatives is clearly the Tandy 
3000 HD, and you still get a lot more 
opportunities for growth and expan- 
sion with the 3000 HD. You also get 
Tandy's "Clearly Superior" service 
and support. 

Rich Bilancia is an independent consultant spe- 
cializing in UNIX and XENIX who writes a 
monthly column for UNIX/World from his home 
in Littleton, Colorado. One of his Vnify-based 
applications, a hotel reservation and front desk 
system for the Mana Kai-Maui Hotel in Hawaii, 
was highlighted in "Computing in Paradise" 
published in the Summer 1986 issue o/Answers. 
Bilancia is a member of Tangent. 



11 




sm 




Compliments, encouragement 
and fresh cookies led to big 
business for Debbi Fields. 

When Debbi Fields opened her first 
cookie store in August 1977, she had 
what she considered a very simple goal 
in mind — to make people smile by 
providing everyone with the freshest, 
warmest, chewiest cookies she knew 
how to make, and providing them with 
the most incredible service they had 
ever encountered. 

No small undertaking for a 20-year- 
old housewife whose only market re- 
search was based on the compliments 
and encouragement she received from 
friends and her husband's business as- 
sociates. Nevertheless, with $50, 000 
she borrowed from her husband. 
Randy Fields, she purchased the 
needed equipment and opened Mrs. 
Fields Chocolate Chippery in an inter- 
national foods arcade at Liddicoats in 
Palo Alto, California. 

Sophisticated marketing surveys in- 
dicated that most people like choco- 
late chip cookies crisp and cool. Since 
Debbi decided to buck the trend and 
produce only warm and chewy cook- 
ies, it was no wonder her first day of 
business began as a disappointment. 
By noon, not a single cookie had sold. 
In an effort to get people to try her 
warm and chewy delights, she piled a 
tray high with cookies and began walk- 
ing up and down the street inviting 
everyone to try a cookie. The free sam- 
ples worked as she began to recognize 
people who returned to the store — 
this time to bin. 

Perhaps one of the things which sets 
Mrs. Fields apart from others in the 
same type of business is Debbi's phi- 
losophy, "Good enough, never is." 

"We are always looking at how we 
can make it better," she said. "The only 
thing which never changes is the 
cookie recipe. After all, a standard is a 
standard. 

"Integrity is everything," she con- 
tinued. "I am as zealous today about 
product quality as I was nine years ago. 
I truly believe that it's the customer 
which drives our business and you just 
can't compromise quality of service or 
product along the way." 

Her husband. Randy, who now acts 
as chairman of the board and chief 
financial officer, echoes her sentiment. 
"The basic cookie recipe is the only 
thing which represents perfection in 



the company. Every other aspect of 
our business is in the process of trying 
to reach perfection." 

Perfection, please 

Debbi is a perfectionist and insists 
that customers have a proper "Mrs. 
Fields experience" with every bite no 
matter where the cookie was pur- 
chased. One of the standards for a Mrs. 
Fields cookie is that it must be fresh. 
Any cookie not sold within two hours 
is donated to charity. "This isn't be- 
cause the cookie will self-destruct or 
isn't any good after two hours," she 
said "It's just that we simply want a 
quality product and part of producing 
a quality product is providing a fresh, 
warm cookie." 

She is also known for making sur- 
prise visits to her stores not only to 
check on quality, but to meet the staff 
and pitch in if need be. It's not unusual 
for her to walk into a store, don an 
apron and hat and start mixing dough 
or waiting on customers. 

Although she is president of an in- 
ternational corporation, Debbi Fields 
is unpretentious and will never hesi- 
tate to say that if not for the people 
around her, Mrs. Fields would be a 
single store in Palo Alto. "All I ever 
wanted was one store. The only reason 
we decided to expand was because of 
our people who came to me wanting 
more opportunity. It's those people 
and those like them that keep me run- 
ning today." 

She is a strong believer of promoting 
from within, saying that once a person 
has worked in a store they are more 
sensitive to the needs of those in the 
field. In fact, every vice president was 
once a sales manager and everyone 
who works in the corporate offices, 
now located in Park City, Utah, works 
in a store before starting their job. 

To say the company has grown could 
be considered an understatement. In 
just nine short years, Mrs. Fields has 
expanded into an international opera- 
tion with more than 300 stores in 25 
states with locations in Japan, Hong 
Kong, England, Canada and Australia. 
At the beginning of the 1987 fiscal 
year, the company had opened 140 
new stores. 

Gross annual sales have grown from 
$30 million in 1983 to more than $70 
million in 1985. Mrs. Fields also owns 
approximately 80 Famous Chocolate 
Chippery stores, which are mostly lo- 
cated on the east coast and are in the 



process of being renamed Jessica's 
Cookies, after Debbi and Randy's old- 
est daughter. 

Randy Fields estimates that within 
five years Mrs. Fields will grow 300 
percent. That translates to more than 
1,300 stores worldwide if the company 
continues at its present growth rate. 

Not only has the company grown in 
numbers, but its product line has also 
expanded. There are eleven types of 
cookies ranging from milk chocolate 
with or without walnuts to such eclec- 
tic delights as White Chunk (white 
chocolate and macadamia nuts). There 
are also five types of brownies with 
muffins as the latest addition to the 
product line. 



— «.' '' 


T^L 


1 sJ^Eji 


WB X 


jQ p - 






, 



The emphasis at Mrs. Fields is always 
"fresh from the oven". 

Dough control 

Nothing is automated when it 
comes to producing the Mrs. Fields 
product. Staff in each store actually 
mix the cookie dough, "drop" the 
dough onto cookie sheets and bake the 
cookies. The basic recipe uses real 
butter and real chocolate, specially 
formulated for Mrs. Fields. The com- 
pany also uses about eight percent of 
the world's macadamia nuts. 

A company doesn't grow at the rate 
Mrs. Fields has grown without some 
control over their inventory and fi- 
nances. All stores are company- 
owned. Both Debbi and Randy feel the 
only way to maintain the standard of 
quality which is expected is to be in- 
volved 100 percent in the operation. 



"In order to grow at the rate we have 
been, it's necessary to maintain a tight 
control over the business," Randy ex- 
plained. "Computerization of the op- 
eration was never an option," he 
added, "it was always a necessity." 

Since opening the second store, the 
company has had a sophisticated man- 
agement information system (MIS), 
thanks to the expertise of husband, 
Randy. Much of the company's success 
can be attributed to its ability to re- 
trieve and disseminate financial infor- 
mation on each store, every day. 

"No store is more than 12 hours out 
of date," Randy explained. "We know 
the next day if a deposit hasn't been 
made or if there has been a loss of 
inventory. Cash information and cus- 
tomer information is really the same. If 
you lose control of the store financially, 
then you also lose the customer. Since 
you can't do a daily customer survey, 
the next best thing is to keep tabs on 
how the business is doing in terms of 
sales and performance." 

When the company first computer- 
ized its operation, a system utilizing 
touch tone phones was used. Each 
store would call into the mainframe in 
Park City, and punch in the numbers 
they were reporting on the phone. 

According to Randy, the system was 
very time-consuming and expensive 
with an average connect time per store 
of seven minutes. As the operation 
grew and the need to maintain even 
tighter controls increased, the com- 
pany began looking for an economical 
machine to place in the field. 

Paul Quinn, manager of data pro- 
cessing at Mrs. Fields, says the com- 
pany looked at several machines, 
including the Radio Shack Model 100. 
"When the Tandy 1000 broke the 
$1,000 mark, that's when we decided 
that it was cost-justifiable to put a mi- 
cro in every store." 

In making their final decision, both 
Quinn and Randy say two main criteria 
were used in evaluating each vendor — 
PC compatibility and ability to provide 
service for every micro in every store. 

The service aspect was very impor- 
tant to the people at Mrs. Fields from 
the standpoint that they could not af- 
ford to send a computer to some re- 
mote service center for repair. They 
needed someone who could provide 
them with immediate service when- 
ever and wherever needed. "The ma- 
jor reason we went with Tandy," 

13 



explained Quinn, "was the service is- 
sue. Everywhere we are, they are." 

A Tandy 1000HD with 256K mem- 
ory and a 1200 baud internal modem 
can be found in virtually every Mrs. 
Fields Cookies store. The daily report 
program was developed in-house by 
Paul Quinn and his staff with help 
from Radio Shack's own Store Operat- 
ing System (SOS) personnel. "Radio 
Shack's SOS people were very good in 
helping us develop our daily report 
program," Quinn explained. 

It's one thing to develop an account- 
ing program for people who are famil- 
iar with computers; it's another to 
develop one for people who have never 
touched a computer. Randy explained 
the idea behind the software develop- 
ment was to create something that 
didn't require a user's manual. "It had 
to be not only user friendly, but user 
sensible as well," he added. 




Paul Quinn explains the company's sophis- 
ticated reporting svstem. 

Practical procedure 

If the reaction from the field is any 
indication, then Quinn and Company 
have been very successful in develop- 
ing a user friendly/user sensible pack- 
age. At the end of each business day, 
the store manager inputs the daily re- 
port information. The program begins 
by asking for the sales date. An intro- 
duction screen then comes up listing 
new sales targets or hours of operation 
with a six to eight line message from 
Debbi. This screen is replaced weekly 
from company headquarters. 

The manager then begins data input 
on the Tandy 1000 HD. The input is 
divided into eight categories — 
inventory transfer, additions (inven- 
tory received), weekly inventory on 

14 



hand, staff accounting (total hours 
spent in store), batch accounting (how 
many of each item produced), product 
accounting (how many of each item 
given away or was substandard), daily 
cash sheet, and weekly payroll. When 
finished, the manager simply presses a 
key. The program formats the data and 
places the phone call to Park City. All 
the information is checked for errors, 
then accepted by a microcomputer 
which acts as a front-end processor. 
The data is then sent real time to the 
company's mainframe. 

According to Quinn, the informa- 
tion transfer takes about thirty sec- 
onds, compared to the seven minutes 
it used to take using the touch tone 
phone method. "We have practically 
paid for our lease of the machines 
through our savings in phone service 
alone," he said. 

When the program was first imple- 
mented on Tandy 1000s, all Mrs. 
Fields' district managers were 
brought to Park City for one day of 
training. "We set up 50 machines each 
with a set of instructions, and had 
them work through the instructions," 
Quinn explained. "When they re- 
turned home, they trained their indi- 
vidual store managers." 

Morning operations at company 
headquarters begin at 3 a.m. by mak- 
ing sure all data has been posted by all 
stores. Management reports are then 
generated by region around the coun- 
try. Reports are then set up for distri- 
bution both internally and for the field. 

All district managers have a portable 
printer, which they can hook up to 
their Tandy 1000. To receive informa- 
tion on the previous day's report, they 
insert a management diskette and call 
up the mainframe. 

The daily report program has 
proven so successful, Mrs. Fields plans 
to offer their software, based on third 
party referrals, sometime next year. 

To further reduce paperwork, a 
daily planner program is being in- 
stalled in all Mrs. Fields stores. "The 
purpose of the daily planner is to help 
managers run their store more effi- 
ciently hour by hour," said Quinn. 

According to Randy, a store should 
never be out of product; otherwise, it is 
losing sales. The daily planner is an 
effort to keep stores well stocked in 
warm, chewy confections. It helps 
managers determine how much dough 
to mix, and when and how many cook- 



ies should be dropped to meet the ex- 
pected customer traffic. 

After following a simple set of in- 
structions on how to load the daily 
planner onto their hard drive, the 
manager makes a "model" day for 
each day of business based on stan- 
dards established by the company. 

The daily planner will also calculate 
"what ifs," said Quinn. For instance, if 
there is unusually heavy traffic, the 
employee can adjust the customer 
count and the program will dynami- 
cally adjust the mixing and dropping 
schedule and total sales if customer 
traffic continues at the given rate. 

"We have been using a daily plan- 
ning report which is done on paper," 
Quinn said. "However, it is very labor 
intensive. This computerized version 
is an effort to replace that." 




Sally White, directorof marketing and pro- 
motions, checks daily sales Figures. 

Quinn and his data processing staff 
are also working on a staffing program 
that will provide the manager with a 
personnel schedule of his staff. Accor- 
ding to Randy, the company has re- 
duced employees' paperwork by half. 
Their goal is to eventually reduce it by 
80 to 90 percent. 

Randy's theory closely resembles an 
application for artificial intelligence in 
that people should be with people. 
"Our company is customer-driven. If 
you have people who want to be with 
people, then you have to take the ad- 
ministrative work off their back. It's 
too much to ask someone to spend 5 
hours doing paperwork in addition to 
their people-related functions." 

With success forecasted for the fu- 
ture, Mrs. Fields is definitely cashing 
in the (chocolate) chips. 



TECHNIQUES, ETT L 




Banking on the future 

A free Tandy 1000 EX just for putting your money to 
work? That's "The Real Yield Computer Deal" that Texas 
Commerce Bank of Fort Worth, Texas made to depositors in 
October, 1986. Judging by the response the promotion 
generated, the bank's offer was one that depositors found 
hard to resist. By depositing as little as $4000 in a certificate 
of deposit, the bank's customers received a certificate good 
for a complete Tandy 1000 EX system at any Radio Shack 
Computer Center. 

"We structured the promotion so they get everything they 
need," said Bob Jung, chairman and CEO of Texas Com- 
merce Bank — Fort Worth. "They got a color monitor, the 
disk drive, the CPU, software, blank diskettes and even the 
monitor platform — and the bank paid the sales tax. The 
customers walked out of the store with a quality premium 
without ever reaching into their pockets." 

This promotion marked the first time that the bank has 
offered a premium to attract deposits. "Our competitors 
ha\e offered even thing from toasters to new cars in order to 
attract deposits," reported Jung. Instead of offering a variety 
of premiums that increased in value with the size of the 
deposit, Texas Commerce Bank offered one premium and 
adjusted the term depending on the size of the deposit. 

"The reason we picked one quality product is because one 
of our main target markets is professional executives. These 
people are looking for quality products," said Jung. "The 
Tandy 1000 EX is a quality product with all the features you 
would want in a computer. We felt it would be appealing to 
professional executives." 

Another reason why Texas Commerce Bank selected 
Tandy computers as a premium item might be that they have 
had good luck with their own Tandy computer systems that 
include both Tandy 1200s and Tandy 3000s. Back in 1985, 
they began an office automation drive that some might call 
out of the ordinary. Instead of designing applications and 
then purchasing hardware, they purchased computers, put 
them in different areas of the bank and let their employees 
become familiar with them. 

"It worked like a charm," reported Jung. "Once the em- 
ployees became familiar with the computers they began to 
come up with applications themselves and we would get the 
templates for them. We have really been pleased with the 
acquisition of the computers." 




That's the idea 

Managing ideas. What a novel . . . idea. That's just what 
American Idea Management Corporation (AIM) does. 
Founded three years ago, the firm represents individual and 
corporate clients screening hundreds of inventions each 
year which run the gamut from toys and games to high 
technology electronic devices for home and industrial use. 
The company offers inventors a wide range of services, 
including patent development, research, marketing and li- 
censing, and AIM represents its clients to manufacturers. 

All these tasks involve heavy duty word processing. Ac- 
cording to Jim Eagan, computer operations manager, the 
company needed a system that would provide multiple user 
capability and direct computer-to-computer communica- 
tions between the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania facility and the 
corporate headquarters in Reading, Massachusetts. Said 
Eagan, "I tried to talk to other big companies, but they 
didn't want to talk to me. They wanted to talk hundreds of 
thousands of dollars. We went to Tandy and they were totally 
responsive to our needs." 

Today, American Idea Management uses four Tandy 6000 
multiuser systems, two in Pittsburgh and two in Reading, 
each with hard drive storage capacity and an assortment 
of Tandy terminals and printers. Modem communications 
allow the two offices to interface not only with each other 
but also with clients and subscription data bases used 
in research. 

Eagan noted "without a word of exaggeration" that the 
Tandy systems have increased productivity 150 to 200 per- 
cent. Lex68 is the heart of the company's word processing 
functions, permitting them to rapidly and efficiently service 
their client's requirements. The computer systems are 
utilized for the storage, retrieval and processing of the ma- 
jority of the company's accounting, legal, contract and client 
information. Quipped Eagan, "You could say we're a 
'Tandy' corporation." 



Are you using your Tandy/Radio Shack computer in an interesting manner 9 We'd like 
to hear about it. Just send us a brief description of your application, including the 
software and model number of the computer you're using If we select your 
application for possible inclusion in our Techniques. Etc. column, we'll contact 
you — so be sure to include your address and phone number. Letters sent become the 
property of the magazine. Sorry, we can't return any letters received (so don't include 
diskettes, photos, etc.). Address letters to: Techniques. Etc.. Aniwen Magazine. 100 
One Tandy Center. Fort Worth. Te»as 76102. 



15 





Supplying die 
demands of 
dentistry 



Networking helps a 
Minnesota-based dental supplier 
improve distribution and reduce 
back orders. 



It might be a drill bit or a dental 
chair, cotton swabs or an x-ray system. 
But whatever it is, a dentist can't afford 
to wait for it to be shipped. 

No one knows that better than Peter 
Frechette, president of Patterson 
Dental Company. With nearly 1000 
employees, Patterson Dental is the 
second largest dental supply company 
in the United States. The company 
ships more than 25,000 different prod- 
ucts to more than 60,000 dentists from 
eighty sales offices in twenty-six states. 
With such a complex distribution sys- 
tem, getting the item to the dentist can 
be difficult; shipping it to the dentist 
on the same day it is ordered is a mon- 
umental challenge. 

When Patterson Dental succeeds at 
this challenge, and it does most of the 
time, dentists will order products from 
the company again and again. The se- 
cret to Patterson Dental's success is a 
communications network that allows 
for communication, company-wide. 
Communications networks aren't new 
to the distribution industry, but they 
are new to the dental industry, 
Frechette explained. "The network 
helps us provide better customer ser- 
vice because we can fill more orders 
more quickly, increase our inventory 
turnover and increase our market 
share," he continued. 

Patterson Dental's network oper- 
ates from distribution hubs in loca- 
tions such as Seattle, Washington; Los 
Angeles, California; Houston, Texas; 
Chicago, Illinois; Chattanooga, Ten- 
nessee; and the company's headquar- 
ters in Bloomington, Minnesota, a 
suburb of Minneapolis. Each hub co- 
ordinates the distribution of Patterson 
Dental's vast array of products stored 
in twenty major distribution centers 
and twenty satellite stock locations. 



Distribution solution 

Although, today, the network seems 
like second nature, it had to be de- 
signed from the bottom up. The design 
process started in April, 1984 when a 
young German-born American named 
Cuenther Than (pronounced "tawn") 
was hired as vice president for man- 
agement information systems. To Fre- 
chette, Than's role in the organization 
is pivotal. "If Guenther comes up with 
the tools, I back him." Than and his 
staff have consistently solved Patter- 
son Dental's distribution problems. A 
prominent part of the network solu- 
tion has been Tandy computers. Today 
the company's distribution network is 




Computer operator Sandy George uses a 
Tandy 30(H) to transmit information to 
the company's regional hubs. 

controlled by about two dozen Tandy 
3000 and Tandy 1200 hard disk-based 
computers. 

Than related that he chose Tandy 
computers for a very good reason: 
Tandy uses a network for its own Radio 
Shack store operating system that is 
very similar to the system that Patter- 
son Dental wanted to install. "Tandy 
has regional warehouses serving over 
7,000 locations, and they have support 
staff at regional levels," Than noted. "I 
went to see the district manager in 
Minneapolis, and, as soon as he real- 
ized the scope of our project, he took 
me to Fort Worth to meet with Tandy's 
manager of national accounts," Than 
recalled. "We were privy to how they 
set up and worked with their own 
network — thev shared the system 
with us so we didn't have to repeat 
errors. 

"One of the nice things about Tandy 
is that we didn't have to be a corporate 
giant to receive the same service and 
help that a large company usually com- 
mands," said Than. 

Speed is the key 

Than explained how the system op- 
erates by using an example of a dental 
assistant in Boise, Idaho, who needed a 



specific product that was unavailable 
in the local stocking location. After 
placing an order with a Boise customer 
representative, the order is entered on 
the local office's microcomputer and is 
transmitted to the Seattle hub, the one 
closest to Boise. 

If the item was available in Seattle, it 
would be shipped to Idaho on the 
same day. If it wasn't stocked in Seat- 
tle, the communications system auto- 
matically queries other stocking 
locations in the Seattle regional hub. If 
the product was located in Portland, 
Oregon, for example, the Seattle hub 
would execute the order through the 
network and have it shipped from 
Portland to Boise the same day. 

The beauty of the system is that dis- 
tribution has become a simple task, 
Than observed. In the past, if a distri- 
bution location didn't have a particular 
product, the local office would place 
an order with the manufacturer, wait 
two or three weeks for the order to 
arrive and then they'd ship it to the 
customer. Today, inventory at other lo- 
cations is checked before orders are 
placed to manufacturers. 

"What we've done is decentralize 
the sales and marketing function at the 
same time as we have centralized dis- 
tribution at regional levels," Than said. 
"It's easier to move information than it 
is to move people and stock". 

Filling the order 

By using the system, Patterson Den- 
tal's service level has increased from 
80 percent to 92 percent. "This means 
that, instead of being able to ship on 



average eight of every ten items or- 
dered out of immediate stock, we are 
now able to immediately ship more 
than nine out often orders complete," 
Than reported. Another measure of 
success is inventory turnover, which 
has increased from about four times to 
almost six times annually. What all this 
means is that Patterson Dental can 
promptly fill more customer orders 
and, at the same time, keep its inven- 
tory at an optimal level to improve the 
company's overall cush flow position. 

Tandy's help came not only in the 
form of design support, but also from 
the ability of the hardware to run an 
off-the-shelf software package. Gross 
Talk, that easily handles file transfers 
between the systems in the network 
and Patterson Dental's central com- 
puter system. The computers in the 
regional hubs will transmit, through 
the use of a modem, stocking, demand 
and equipment availability to the cen- 
tral computer in Bloomington. In re- 
turn the central computer will 
transmit to the regional hubs a variety 
of reports such as product demand and 
ordering information. 

Now that the objective of shipping 
product the same day as ordered has 
been achieved, Patterson Dental plans 
to augment the communications sys- 
tem. Than wants to integrate the den- 
tist and the manufacturer into the 
system through personal computers 
and remote terminals installed at their 
offices. Whenever these new network 
heights are scaled. Than is sure that 
Tandy will be with Patterson Dental 
even step of the way. 



Portable sales force 




Janeen Slurgic, network support, 
checks sales figures on a Model 100. 

When not improving Patterson 
Dental's distribution network, 
Guenther Than's MIS staff is help- 



ing the sales force close more deals. 
Than developed a financial analysis 
software system that sales person- 
nel run on the company's Radio 
Shack Model 100 portable comput- 
ers. Basically, the program is a cost/ 
benefit analysis that demonstrates 
to the dentist the cost effectiveness 
of the new equipment purchased 
from Patterson Dental. 

Because such equipment can be 
very expensive, sales people over- 
come customer resistance by using 
the Model 100s for on-the-spot cal- 
culation of the improved cash flow 
the dental practice will achieve by 
upgrading their equipment. These 
projections, which include a com- 
prehensive cost analysis, are gener- 
ally calculated on a three year basis. 



17 




Education 

with a 
personal touch 

A local school district goes 
beyond computer literacy and 
creates a system-wide learning 
program. 




Hex McBarnes has helped the computer 
literacy program expand throughout the 
school system. 



18 



Prince George County, located 
about 35 miles south of Richmond, 
Virginia, is a suburban community 
whose backyards were once Civil War 
battlefields.' While Civil War buffs still 
scout the environs soaking up history, 
the county's citizens — at least those 
involved with educating the communi- 
ty's 5,000 students — are much more 
in step with the computer age. Com- 
puter awareness has become a state of 
mind in the school system. 

Part of the interest in computers has 
been propelled by the state of Virgin- 
ia's mandate to have every teacher and 
student in the public school system 
become computer literate. Some of 
the interest has exuded from the light 
industry that populates the area. By far 
the largest employer in the area is the 
U.S. Army Post of Fort Lee, which 
houses several of the Army's world- 
wide logistic, support and training 
agencies including computer sciences. 
Some 40 percent of the students in the 
school system have parents who are 
military personnel or civilians em- 
ployed at Fort Lee. 

But Rex McBarnes is really the cata- 
lyst in the school system when it comes 
to carrying out the computer literacy 



mandate. McBarnes, a friendly, stocky- 
man with a well-groomed flat-top, is 
the school system's director of com- 
puter services. During a typical day. 
McBarnes visits many of the communi- 
ty's ten schools where he appears to be 
known by virtually everyone. 

The school system's introduction to 
computers began in 1978 when Mc- 
Barnes, who, at the time, was head of 
the Mathematics Department in the 
high school, decided to teach a BASIC 
programming course. "I was getting 
feedback from students who had urad- 
uated and gone on to college. They felt 
they were at a disadvantage because 
they were competing with students 
from larger high schools who had 
taken computer courses," he reported. 

One computer, too many 
students 

The first group of students flocked 
to use the single TRS-80 Model I, often 
coming in before dawn to use the sys- 
tem. Later, when the school system 
needed to acquire more systems, Mc- 
Barnes briefly evaluated Apple com- 
puter systems but quickly decided to 
continue purchasing from Tandy. "The 
determining factor was service. Not 



only is the sen ice good but the people 
at Radio Shack are easy to work with." 

The Prince George County school 
system is continually adding to its in- 
ventor) of Tandy computers, which re- 
cently totaled 150 Color Computers, 
three Model Is, thirty-five Model Ills, 
twenty-five Model 4s, thirty-five Tandy 
1000s, two Tandy 1200s, three Tandy 
2000s and a Model 16 multiuser sys- 
tem which is used by the high school's 
administrative offices. McBarnes also 
has acquired an extensive library of 
software including both industry stan- 
dard software such as PFSAVrite and 
MultiPlan and other software de- 
signed specifically for or adapted to 
Tandy computers. 




Students It-urn BASIC and PASCAL us- 
ing Tand\ 1000% and Radio Shack Model 
4s in the high school computer lal>. 

Starting at the grammar school 
level, students use the Color Comput- 
ers to receive instruction in computer 
literacy, including computer princi- 
ples, the history of computers, poten- 
tial careers, how to upload and 
download programs and how to use 
simple programs. The culmination of 
the computer literacy program occurs 
in the seventh grade when students 
receive a three week block of largely 
hands-on instruction as part of a re- 
quired math course. 

This gradual introduction to com- 
puting gives the students a good foun- 
dation once they reach high school 
where there are two major avenues of 
computer study — computer science 
and vocational applications. About 
fifty percent of the high school stu- 
dents elect to take one or more com- 
puter courses, McBarnes said, adding 
that academically the school system is 
considered one of the most progres- 
sive in the state. 

Preparing for the future 

The computer science curriculum 
provides an in-depth instruction in 
programming language skills. Stu- 
dents learn BASIC and PASCAL lan- 
guages in the computer lab, which is 



outfitted with a mixture of Tandy 
1000s and Radio Shack Model 4s. 
Lately, computer science has become 
so popular that McBarnes is moving 
the BASIC programming course to the 
ninth grade level to free up students at 
the higher grades to take more PAS- 
CAL programming and other higher 
level languages to better prepare them 
for college level computer courses. 

By far, vocational training encom- 
passes the largest part of computer in- 
struction at the high school level. 
"People today will find it very difficult 
to get a job in an office environment 
unless they've got training in word 
processing," McBarnes said. Prince 
George County is making sure its stu- 
dents have plenty of training in office 
skills. All students in the secretarial 
skills program take a semester of key- 
boarding, a semester of computer con- 
cepts and a full year of business 
computer applications. These applica- 
tions, all taught on Tandy 1000s, in- 
clude instruction in DeskMate, 
PFS:Write, MultiPlan and other popu- 
lar business programs. 

An important part of the computer 
program is making students comfort- 
able with MS-DOS. "The sixth graders 
love the animated MS-DOS Funda- 
mentals program from Tandy. Once 
you've got students exposed to 
MS-DOS, that's half the battle," Mc- 
Barnes emphasized. 




Students learn the basics of computing 
using Color Computers. 

Prince George County recently ex- 
panded its vocational training program 
by participating in a computer-aided 
design pilot project for the state to 
teach computer-aided design as a part 
of the mechanical drawing curricu- 
lum. Again, Tandy was the computer of 



choice — this time the Tandy 2000 run- 
ning VersaCAD. The school system 
borrowed the first Tandy 2000 and re- 
lated peripherals and later bought a 
total of three Tandy 2000 systems. The 
high school offers five classes per day 
in mechanical drawing. "At first, the 
students are a little in awe of the com- 
puter, but once they use it, they love 
it," McBarnes said. "This could really 
spread out to be a good-sized opera- 
tion," he added. 

Beyond computer science 

Perhaps because computers are 
such an everyday part of the school's 
environment, the administration, 
teachers and students are always look- 
ing for new uses for the systems. Mc- 
Barnes is keen on finding ways to 
integrate usage of computers with 
English classes, particularly for term 




Computer-aided design merges comput- 
ers with mechanical drawing. 

paper writing. One course of action 
under consideration is having students 
write their papers using word process- 
ing software after which it would be 
critiqued by a teacher. Students would 
then input necessary changes before 
handing in the final version. With a 
tedious manual system, students 
would normally be unwilling to make 
so many changes. "With this method, 
the students learn how to use the tech- 
nology and produce a better piece of 
work than they normally would," Mc- 
Barnes observed. 

McBarnes continues to explore ar- 
eas where computers could help en- 
hance the curriculum. In fact, it often 
seems difficult to keep him away from 
the Tandy systems. But with results 
like Prince George County schools 
have achieved, who would want to? 



19 



System solutions 
at your service 




When the client requires a total 
solution turnkey system, the job 
goes beyond merely providing 
quality and value. 

The federal government is the larg- 
est single employer in the United 
States. Even with all that manpower to 
draw from, the government is just like 
any other business: sometimes it is 
more cost-effective to have an outside 
vendor provide goods and services 
than it is to produce them internally. 
Therefore, the Washington D.C. area 
has a large number of companies who 
do work for the federal government as 
contractors or consultants. 

One such company is VSE Corpora- 
tion, a nationwide engineering, devel- 
opment, testing and management 
services company serving both gov- 
ernment and industry. Headquartered 
in Alexandria, Virginia, VSE was origi- 
nally founded by President John 
Toomey in 1959 to do value engineer- 
ing work, primarily for the govern- 
ment. Value engineering involves 
using numerous engineering tech- 

20 



niques to help reduce the cost and 
improve the quality of equipment. To- 
day, VSE employs 2,200 people 
around the country and has expanded 
its operations to include the design of 
turnkey office automation systems. 
Under the leadership of Senior Vice 
President Marcy Pichel, these auto- 
mated systems are just one facet of the 
responsibilities of VSE's Configura- 
tion Management/Integrated Logis- 
tics Support (CM/ILS) regional office 
based in Arlington, Virginia. 

Naval strategy 

According to Barry N. Chapman, 
VSE's Director of Information Sys- 
tems for CM/ILS, VSE's CM/ILS 
group has been tasked by the U.S. Na- 
vy's Naval Sea Systems Command 
(NAVSEA) to develop a total office au- 
tomation system for selected logistic 
groups. NAVSEA is responsible for 
specifying and procuring everything 
necessary for U.S. Navy seagoing ves- 
sels including the ships and subma- 
rines themselves. Components of the 
automation program VSE is currently 
developing include an automated pro- 



cess for acquiring data within the De- 
fense Department and for establishing 
standards for graphics and data base 
design, ultimately enabling the De- 
fense Department computers to com- 
municate with each other. 

Chapman, an electrical engineer 
with a strong computer background, 
explained VSE's approach to develop- 
ing systems. "What we try to do is 
analyze the customer's total require- 
ments and look at all the available 
technology," he said. "We then design 
a system, procure the equipment and 
install the system." Another factor de- 
termining the selection of equipment 
is compatibility. "We have to make 
sure the new equipment we install will 
interface with the customer's existing 
equipment," Chapman stressed. 

Systematic approach 

Chapman and his team have devel- 
oped a standardized "building block" 
approach to office automation. "We 
choose an approach based first on op- 
erating systems rather than on specific 
vendors in order to maintain flexibility 
and expandability," Chapman ex- 



plained. "Then we look for the ven- 
dors that hest fit our approach." 

The primary "building blocks" of 
the typical VSE office automation sys- 
tem are single user personal comput- 
ers utilizing MS-DOS. These 
computers are connected to multiuser 
systems running UNIX. Tandy com- 
puters have proved to be an important 
part of this approach. "We found 
Tandy equipment to be the best value 
in terms of cost, support, repair turn 
around, quality assurance and relia- 
bility," Chapman remarked. "And 
Tandy's compatibility and ability to 
run all the major industry-standard 
software is an excellent plus." 

The system designed for NAVSEA 
currently consists of twelve Tandy 
3000s that highlight their flexibility by 
allowing engineering functions, such 
as high resolution graphics in the sin- 
gle user mode, while providing the 
ability to easily interface with the mul- 
tiuser UNIX system. As Chapman 
explained, "The Tandy 3000s at 
NAVSEA have a WorkNet card that 
allows them to connect to the mul- 
tiuser UNIX supermicro via a high- 
speed communications port. Anyone 
using a Tandy 3000 can operate in 
MS-DOS and store files on the UNIX 
machine in an MS-DOS partition so 
that all users on the system — up to 
64 — have access to those files." Accor- 
ding to Chapman, the ability to use 
cards such as WorkNet is impressive. 
"Tandy's compatibility is excellent," 
he said. "You can mix and match periph- 
erals on the Tandy — and we have — and 
everything works just great." 

Although the Navy buys equipment 
through the General Services Admin- 
istration, Radio Shack has a GSA con- 
tract that allows delivery of products 
through local Computer Centers. All 
the computers used at NAVSEA were 
purchased from the Radio Shack Com- 
puter Center in Crystal City, Virginia, 
which also provided initial training 
and technical support to VSE, who in 
turn trained users at NAVSEA. "We 
have automated users at all levels at 
NAVSEA," said Chapman. "Secretar- 
ies are doing word processing and us- 
ing electronic mail and graphics; 
support engineers are using spread- 
sheets and computer-aided design; 
and managers are using electronic 
mail and calendar features." 

Each Tandy 3000 installed at NAV- 
SEA is equipped with 2.6 megabytes 
of random access memory, a math co- 



processor (for faster calculations), a 20 
megabyte hard disk drive, a high reso- 
lution graphics display and is outfitted 
with various printed circuit boards 
that improve system performance. 
These systems run office automation 
tasks as well as spreadsheets, graphics 
and computer-aided design functions, 
with popular software. "The packages 
in use include Lotus 1-2-3, dBase III, 
AutoCAD, MultiMate, Gem Draw and 
Time Line," said Chapman. "This abil- 
ity to run industry-standard software 
was an important criteria that NAV- 
SEA specified." 

Benchmark analysis 

Before choosing the Tandy systems. 
Chapman and his group analyzed 
more than a dozen competitive 
machines on the basis of published 
benchmarks (for speed and perfor- 
mance) and hands-on evaluation. 
"When you do a quantitative analysis 
of a machine, you get tied up with 
numbers," said Chapman. "We are in- 
terested not only in how fast the ma- 
chine is and what the mean time 
between failure is, but also in support, 
training availability and responsive- 
ness to customer needs. These are 
things that can't be measured with just 
pure numbers." 

VSE uses Tandy 3000s and mul- 
tiuser Tandy 6000s in its own offices. 
Presently, VSE is using a 9-track tape 
drive connected to a Tandy 3000 to 
download data directly from the main- 
frame computer tape. Once the data is 
downloaded, it can be manipulated lo- 
cally and then written back to the tape 



so it can be uploaded back to the main- 
frame. "The Tandy 3000 is a single 
user computer that is really part of a 
complete communications bridge 
from single to multiuser to mainframe 
and back," Chapman observed. VSE is 
also planning to use the 3000s in 
computer-aided design and desktop 
publishing applications and to develop 
artificial intelligence-based expert sys- 
tems to aid in developing computer 
applications for logistics support. 

VSE uses Tandy 6000s to port 
XENIX applications that will be used 
on NAVSEA's multiuser system. One 
design that VSE has developed for in- 
house use on the Tandy 6000, also in- 
stalled for NAVSEA, is an electronic 
mail function. This system automati- 
cally dials up MCI Mail several times a 
day, checks the electronic mailboxes 
and downloads any messages. It then 
routes messages to the appropriate 
parties, along with any interoffice elec- 
tronic memos. The electronic mail 
function helps NAVSEA Headquar- 
ters, field and Fleet staff members 
communicate more effectively. 
Through the use of portable Tandy 
200s, messages can be sent and re- 
ceived through the electronic mail 
function. According to Chapman, 
NAVSEA also uses the Tandy 200s for 
quick note taking and calculations 
when away from headquarters. 

Of Tandy's role in helping the Navy 
become more efficient, Chapman said, 
"The office automation game is really 
a big puzzle, and Tandy is a major part 
of the solution to the puzzle. Tandy 
really opens the door." 




Pat McNeelege, VSE CM/1 LS group system programmer, uses the Tandy 60(H) to moni- 
tor electronic mail transfer between systems. 



21 




Free-wheeling students hit the road with 
the Max/Drive Simulator System in Na- 
perville, Illinois. 










In the middle of the oil crunch, 
there's at least one business in 
Oklahoma that's thriving. 

Tulsa, once known as the "Oil Capi- 
tal of the World," is the home of Simu- 
lator Systems International (SSI). 
While many companies in Tulsa are 
experiencing a slowdown due to 
events in the oil industry, SSI is on 
the move. 

Established in 1974, SSI is a manu- 
facturer of automobile simulators for 
use in driver education, marketing 
their systems primarily to school sys- 
tems and state highway departments. 
A truly international company, they 
have installed systems around the 
world, in countries as far away as Syria 
and Saudi Arabia. 

In the driver's seat at SSI is Gerald 
Eaton, vice president and operations 
manager. An electrical engineer with 
20 years of navy experience, Eaton de- 
signed the Max/Drive System utilizing 
microcomputer technology to give 
teachers and students one of the most 

22 



advanced driving simulator systems 
"on the road" today. 

For years, driving simulators were 
not advanced enough to be reliable 
measures of a student's performance. 
According to Eaton, a student could 
pass a driving test simply by holding 
the simulator's brake and accelerator 
down at the same time, while keeping 
the steering wheel turned to the left. 

Instructors monitored the students 
performance with a console that used 
blinking lights to indicate errors, but 
that could not show what kind of mis- 
takes were being made. Only a few 
skills could be checked at any one 
time. As a result, it was difficult to 
know exactly what kind of help a par- 
ticular student might need. 

New design 

Eaton realized early on that micro- 
computers could give SSI's simulators 
the edge that they needed to bring 
precision to their systems and to dis- 
tance the company from the old simu- 
lators on the market. He also realized 
that the transition would have to meet 



with customer approval and accept- 
ance. In August 1984, Eaton set to 
work researching microcomputers 
and working with programmers to de- 
velop a computerized system. After 
some 18 months of development, the 
prototype for the microcomputer- 
based Max/Drive System emerged as a 
total class management system for 
driver education instructors. 




Gerald Eaton is the man behind the Max/ 
Drive System. 



At the heart of the Max/Drive Sys- 
tem is the Tandy 2000 micro- 
computer — although as Eaton ex- 
claimed, "You probably wouldn't rec- 
ognize it!" SSI removes all of the 
2000's internal components, then 
houses them in a sturdy metal case 
that stands over five feet tall. As Eaton 
indicated, however, the change is only 
a cosmetic one. "We don't alter the 
computer in any way, other than put- 
ting it in a different case." Eaton noted 
this procedure gives SSI a strong sell- 
ing point: "With off the shelf software 
packages available at their local Radio 
Shack, our clients can use their 
Tandy 2000 for applications other than 
driver simulation." 




The Tandy 2(H)() (notice keyboard) is the 
heart of the Max/Drive Manager. 

The customized case provides a 
functional workstation as well. Lock- 
ing metal doors guard the computer, 
monitor and supplies against theft or 
vandalism when not in use (an impor- 
tant concern for schools), while the top 
of the case doubles as a projector 
stand. Underneath the computer, a 
cabinet provides storage space for the 
more than twenty driver education 
films that SSI markets with the system. 

Up to 32 simulators can be inter- 
faced with the Max/Drive console. SSI 
builds these simulators and equips 
each one with all the controls of a real 
car — accelerator, brake, steering 
wheel, turn signals and gear shifter. 
SSI even uses genuine car seats to 
make the simulator as realistic as pos- 
sible. The computer monitors the sta- 
tus of controls during the simulation. 
Factors such as speed, whether the 
accelerator and brake are up or down, 
steering wheel direction and how 
many errors the student has made are 
constantly measured and recorded by 
the computer. 

To simulate driving conditions, a 
modified projector is used to show 
specially designed driver training films 
to the class. A sensor on the projector, 
interfaced to the computer, "reads" a 
special code on the film. The code tells 



the computer how the students should 
be reacting to the film, and in turn, the 
computer decides which students are 
reacting properly. 

The Max/Drive software also gener- 
ates a number of reports to make 
record-keeping an easier task. Accord- 
ing to Eaton, with just a few simple 
commands the instructor can get a 
printout of the scores for a particular 
lesson, an up-to-date grade report for 
the entire class and class schedules 
and attendance reports. 

Performance counts 

SSI chose the Tandy 2000 for a num- 
ber of reasons Eaton explained. "First 
of all, the 2000 had the speed and per- 
formance needed to keep up with a full 
classload of independently operating 
simulators. And the 2000's low price 
made it an unbeatable value. 

"But what really sold us on the 
Tandy 2000," continued Eaton, "was 
name recognition. Many of our pro- 
spective customers would be people 
who had never used a computer be- 
fore." He added that SSI could not af- 
ford to scare customers away with a 
computer that was perceived as being 
just for big companies, or too compli- 
cated for "ordinary" people. 

With the 2000, SSI could provide 
users with a name that's familiar to 
almost everyone: Radio Shack. "That 
name," said Eaton, "was a great advan- 
tage. With literally thousands of Radio 
Shack stores and Computer Centers 
around the world, our customers 
would have easy access to service, soft- 
ware and supplies. If there was any 
computer that could be sold to a po- 
tentially computer-shy market, it was a 
Tandy computer." 

"We looked at a lot of computers," 
Eaton explained, "and we ran into a lot 
of guys who said they were computer 
salesmen. When we'd ask, 'What can 
you tell us about computers?" they'd 
say 'We can tell you any price in the 
store!" But they couldn't tell 
us much else." 

That wasn't the problem with Steve 
Smith, manager of the Radio Shack 
Computer Center on East 41st Street 
in Tulsa. "When it came time to gather 
the information that we needed, Steve 
was extremely helpful," Eaton said. "If 
he couldn't answer the questions, he 
would get answers to the questions. 
That was what we needed." 

The Max/Drive System has been a 
tremendous success for SSI. "The first 



system was installed in February of 
last year," Eaton recalled. "That was 
the actual introduction. Now we have 
twelve systems out there, and there's a 
lot of interest." The company has ex- 
panded, moving to larger facilities, and 
can now produce as many simulator 
systems as the market demands. 

To keep track of the huge inventory 
of parts used in manufacturing the 
Max/Drive systems, the company uses 
a Tandy 6000 computer with three 
data terminals. "We desparately need 
a fourth!" Eaton laughed. SSI also uses 
the 6000 as a database for its customer 
support operations. 

Down the road 

SSI has big plans for its future, and 
those plans include computers. "One 
project under development," Eaton 
said, "is a total licensing system for 
driver's license bureaus, controlled by 




Dr. Joan Martin operates the Max/Drive 
Manager at the Naperxille High School in 
Napenille, Illinois. 

a Tandy 3000 computer. The system 
would administer all of the examina- 
tions required by the bureau, such as 
driving regulations and vision tests. 
When they're through, the system will 
even take their driver's license 
pictifre." 

In the more immediate future, SSI is 
adapting the Max/Drive System for use 
in training heavy tractor/trailer driv- 
ers. Still another project, according to 
Darrell Armstrong, SSI's product sup- 
port manager, will allow field techni- 
cians to access the company's 
Tandy 6000 via modem hookup, using 
Tandy 102 portable computers. The 
technicians will be able to get cus- 
tomer and inventory data, as well as 
technical information on the 
Max/Drive system. 

With these developments, it looks 
like SSI will remain in the fast lane to 
success, leaving its competition far 
behind. 

23 



Radio /hack 

COMPUTER CENTERS 

A DIVISION OF TANDY CORPORATION 
RO. Box 2625, Fort Worth, Texas 76113 



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The Tandy Computer Business 
User's Group denoted in the past 
as the acronym, TCBUG has a 
new name — Tangent. "We felt the 
name should reflect a more profes- 
sional, businesslike image for the 
organization," stated Fred Hill, 
president of Tangent. "The group 
is the same, as is our purpose and 
the goals we hope to accomplish." 
A tangent is making contact at a 
single point or along a line; touch- 
ing but not intersecting, aptly 
describing the user's organization 
- a medium for interaction be- 



computer users and computer in- 
dustry leaders. Members make 
contact at a single point, the an- 
nual conference held each spring, 
and at points along a line com- 
municating among themselves, 
with Tandy Corporation and 
within the industry. Working in 
tangent, all groups benefit from 
the linear relationship. 

Membership in Tangent is open 
to any business computer user. If 
interested, please contact Tangent 
either through CompuServe (GO 
TANGENT) or at P.O. Box 



T-imSSjiS TTT HnT»™ >ri»i.i»Jl' £*\YjE ml*%WA 



WB^^^^^^^^M 



TANDY 



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